Tour de Fleece Day 12: breaking the rules

Leader in the Tour is RUNNING instead of cycling!

and I was knitting instead of spinning. I bound of Temptress shawl:

The pattern bind off features a picot which turned out too frilly in my hands. I undid it and did a regular Bind Off, making picots at every tenth stitch and inserting a bead at the very top of it.

I was trying to mimic the pattern picture of Booknits:

This one was done with the picot bindoff but she manages to make it all airy and lean. Mine got way too frilly:

pattern Temptress by Boo Knits. I used 350 meters of a 100% silk yarn which I do not recommend since it gets all fuzzy. Probably is tussah silk. I recommend Bombyx silk. Needles 3,5 mm, outer border done on 4 mm, bindoff on 7 mm.

Froome is the cyclist you see running. He is top leader in the Tour and he was in pursuit of today’s probable winners together with two people who fight him for his overall position. They were cycling up Mont Ventoux where you need people to cycle with you, even if they are your opponents.

The road was small and winding and filled with spectators. Suddenly something happened, we don’t know what yet, and one of the motor cycles that film everything stopped. Too abruptly for the three cyclists to brake.

They smash into the motor. All three fall to the ground. They pick up their bikes and continue but Froomes bike is busted. He proceeds to run with it in his hand. Then he leaves it at the side of the road and continues running, in his cycling shoes, towards the finish line.

Until the car with the reserve bikes can get to him.

It was bizarre!

Not finished with Temptress Shawl yet…

I’ve bound her off. Lots and lots of picots.

Haven’t blocked yet. Because…. I’m thinking that the edge might be too frilly.

I have been wearing it around the house today though 🙂

For this shawl pattern, Temptress by Boo Knits, this picture has always been my inspiration picture:

It’s Booknits’ own shawl, “thuggisly” blocked, as she likes to put it.

Looking at the edge I now realize that that blocking evens out the picots.

And somehow I also always thought there were beads worked into the bind off too. One in every “icicle” (I’d love that), but there aren’t.

In the pattern Booknits gives some pointers to how she binds off: co 2 stitches not too loose. Bind them off a little tight too. The third bind off  is loose.

I think I cast on and bound off too loose. I’ve got frills. And they will stay, if my first Temptress is anything to go by.

My first Temptress in blue was blocked when finished a few years ago and has been worn and thrown about since then. The frilly picots are still there.

So I’m wearing my unblocked Temptress and looking at it from time to time trying to make up my mind. Block it and live with the frills? Or undo the bindoff and redo it?

In the mean time I’m basking in the beauty of it. It’s so soft and gleamy and I LOVE the colour and the beads!

.

.

.

.

.

I don’t want the frills.

.

.

.

.

I’m going to redo the bind off.

But not right away. I want to wear this colour for a bit, think of nightly coloured Aquilegias and Spring:

Weird Wool Wednesday: the endless bind off

I’m binding off my Temptress shawl, the pattern Temptress by Boo Knits that I’ve knit before and will knit again. It’s a nice bind off: make two stitches, bind off three. The result is picots:

But it takes forever. I’ve been binding off the Temptress Shawl for two days now. And I’m not even half way!

It also invokes some kind of Fibonacci sequence. With cat hair.

Not even half way…

Knitting for pleasure involves the trash bin.

Last December I realized I’ve knitted all the things I NEED. From now on I’m knitting things I WANT. I knit for pleasure now. It’s all a bit novel to me and today I’m taking a new step: I’m going to throw away some knitting.

These are my Winter Snows MKAL mittens:

The pattern, Winter Snows MKAL by Kat Lewinski, is fully released now and it looks like this:

This style is not to my liking. I like my snow flakes to be different, less formal. More like these:

First Snow mittens by Aet Terasmaa and Inga Snöflinga Mittens by Johanne Landin

So halfway my mittens I changed the pattern and started to sprinkle some of these random snowflakes in. But to be honest, I had lost some of the fun in these mittens.

Then I put them on, to take these pictures for you and to contemplate whether maybe I should just knit a border and call them Winter Snow Fingerless Mitts?

I wanted these mitts done and over with. I want to knit other things. Then two things bubbled to the surface of my attention:

  1. I don’t like fingerless mitts that cover the palm of my hand and have a thumb. I want to be able to shove them down, out of the way.
  2. this wool is SCRATCHY

For the few minutes I wore these mitts my wrists started to mutter and nag. Even if I finish these I will not wear them with pleasure. Even though I love the colours and the grey is my precious handspun Blue Texel I won’t wear them with pleasure. And my knitting is all about pleasure.

So

They

Must

Go

Into

the Bin.

Yes. I’m going to throw them away. I squashed the inner voice that started to look for alternative uses (give to a fellow knitter? mugwarmer? plant pot enhancement? bird nest material?). No. Nope. No. Out they go.

They don’t bring pleasure to my wool life?

Out

they

go:

24996371355_28ca0de0f0_n

Ouch. Not a comfortable sight at all. But hey! It frees up a pair of 2,25 mm needles! I can study some more on my Cashmere Neckwarmer!

And it freed up space in the WIPs too. Which is how this came to be:

A second Temptress shawl in a fingering yarn that’s a luxury blend of silk and seacell in colourway Aquilegia. With 5/0 triangle beads from Miyuki, bought at Crystals-and-ice.co.uk, in colourway Silver Lined Smokey Amethyst (5TR-1804). I love silverlined triangle beads from Miyuki!

(The holes resemble butterflies but at the moment all I’m seeing is stacks of handknitted sweaters holding hands. Is that a hint? Should I knit on my Tangled Vine Cardigan??)

The pattern is Temptress by Boo Knits, needles 3,5 mm. I made one before and I love it:

Such a weird colour this yarn has. It’s grey I think… a weird kind of grey. Grey thinking of purple. The beads are a warmish kind of greypink, quite out of my comfort zone. Weird colours, I love it!

It’s a lovely way of knitting, casting on for things you fancy, being it pattern driven or yarn driven. It is a lovely experience. This weeks unexpected gloves are testament to that.

The strange thing I noticed with these things I started this week: this shawl, the Cashmere neckwarmer, the gloves, is that I want to knit different things when I’m here at the cabin then when I’m in the city. In the city I want to knit mittens and socks and cardigans, it seems.

Tomorrow we’re going to to city again, we’ll see how I fare. There’s still Tangled Vine Cardi and Fairytale Mittens and socks WIPs to keep me going if I suddenly stop wanting to knit with silk or cashmere once I reenter the city boundaries.

 pic by Bernard Delobelle

Like I said, it’s lovely following your wooly fancy instead of a sense of obligation. I’m still a beginner but this week I did practise in another instant: I decided NOT to go the annual meeting of the national spinners’ guild in March. Even though it’s the official meeting, where we have to vote and stuff.

But this year the prospect of going didn’t spark any joy in me. None at all. Which is a pity because I’ve been an avid member of this guild for years.

Instead of listing all the reasons I should go I just noticed that this meeting doesn’t bring pleasure to my wool life. And I took it from there: I decided not to go.

And what do you know, the very next day I was invited to a wooly get-together from a Facebook group for spinning and felting, for the very same date in March. My joy for this meeting sparked effortless!

And that’s what a wool hobby should be all about, effortless joy and joyeus efforts.

 pic by Niels Damkjaer

Two toned shawls

You can knit a shawl out of one skein of fingering yarn (sock yarn weight but mostly softer than sockyarn). Such a skein is 100 grams and has about 400 m of yarn on it.

Many shawls at the moment combine two skeins, just to make the shawl more wrappable. A bit more yardage, a bit more warmth.
I love colour contrast and it suits my face so I love these kind of shawls. This week I made a trade with someone and she is going to knit a shawl for me, out of two skeins from my stash.

The pattern is Me and You…and you and me from Fiddleknits
pic by hummingbirdtx
pic by knitcrazycpa

So I spend some time “tossing the stash” to chose which yarns to send. I found some lovely combinations.
Now I want all these shawls!

This is the combination my friend is going to knit:

A Merino Lace from 100%wool -the one I tried to make into Brioche with a white lace– and a OOAK handdyed silk single from Bart&Francis from Belgium.

Both are boldy coloured skeins but the striping in the pattern will tone them down, perhaps even give the illusion of green (I lóve green).

Fiddleknits has another shawl pattern coming out next month, it’s a sister design to the one above.
I chose these colours for it:
A Seasons and Elements from Moonwise in Cassis with a dark silvery Krokus from Dutch Knitting Design.
You wouldn’t believe how soft these yarns are!

Then I found an orange The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga! with a OOAK handdyed silk merino mix from Dutch Knitting Design:

I have no pattern in mind for this one but I love how the combination is way out of my comfort zone or my habits in combining colours.
A Rhubarb green and red with orange? Go me!

In my queue is still the Rockefeller for which I chose the colours months ago. My handspun with a pale blue lace from Colourmart held triple.

pic by IgnorantBliss
Some of my friends have made this design and added some intelligent tweaks, to make it perfect and neat in all its details. I’ve been impatiently waiting for my shoulder to heal because I cannot wait to follow the trail along the pattern and their technical tweaks! And I get to knit it with my handspun, such a treat.

Digging through the stash I ran into plenty single skeins I’ve planned to turn into shawls for a while now.
Like this Drops Kid Silk into a Boo Knits Temptress shawl, with big old beads.

Yes, I made a Temptress before

I need another one! A fluffy one!

And this steel colours tencel that needs just a little bit encouragement to become a finished Spikey Gothic Neckwarmer. It has steel coloured Miyuki beads…

And then there’s this wonder of a skein, handdyed sock yarn by Wol met Verve:


Its colours are very much out of my comfort zone (just like the Rabarber skein up top, the one I’m going to combine with the orange Skinny Bugga).
But I love it and have been admiring this skein for a year now. There are so many colours and nuances in it!

It requires a clever approach, colour wise, because a skein like this will pool and flash and might loose a lot of its subtleties if the colours are not mounted right.
So I’m thinking knitting in the round, stacking the colours. Then perhaps steeking? Or weaving. Or crocheting freeform and let the colours guide. Or using elongated stitches.

I’m going to have a long hard think about it to find out how to make this gorgeous skein into a gorgeous piece of fabric.
Might just as well because I still cannot knit a stitch… I tried some knitting the other day -on those blasted leg warmers- and my shoulder pain came back. Together with tingling in my fingers. Even a whip like sting.
Oops!
I’d better play by the rules and stick to playing with yarn and colours in my head.

Finished: Lace Shawl Temptress

Finally blocked. It’s beautiful!



Boo’s suggestion to use 6/0 size beads, one size larger than is usually recommended, is a good one. My shawl has sparkles of winter!

Imagine the bright days of winter, come January and February. Crisp skies, clear colours. I’ll be feeling like a light snowy queen, wearing this beauty.

It took 351 m of lace yarn on needles 3,75mm and about 275 beads. I learned to use big enough needles and block “thuggishly” to get that airy look at the border.
Here’s my projectpage.

I am going to knit this again! In a variant that has a solid body and that lovely lace pattern at the border.

Weird Wool Wednesday: holding on to an ugly duckling

Temptress is finished. I love this shawl so much! It may well be one of the greatest shawls I ever knit. My favourite designer, high end yarn (half silk, half cashmere!) in the colour that flatters me most and with sparkly, quality beads for which I had to wait a few days.

The shawl itself I knit in just six days which is a record for lace, with beading. That’s how much I enjoyed it!

Here it is, pre-blocking:

All it needs is a gentle soak, a surface to be spread upon and 500 pins to stretch it into shape. Then it will become a most beautiful swan! I can’t wait!

Blocking makes lace. It’s a real nice thing to see, lace preblocked and after blocking.

Ravelry as a whole thread with pictures of lace before and after blocking.

Then why have I not blocked my shawl????

I’ve been carrying my duckling shawl and 500 pins with me everywhere I go for 12 days now. I have not blocked (or worn) it. Apparently I can wait… for a swan…

 

Seduced by Lace and Sparklies

On Monday the new beads arrived. Bigger, brighter beads. They are triangle shaped (catching the light from all angles), transparent with a silver lined hole. Here are the same sort beads but in a gold version:

kralen

I got my beads and this photo them from Kralenwerk.nl, an online shop run by a very friendly and professional couple. And they love cats, especially Birmans.

Post arrived at 12.15 hours.
First bead was placed on the knitting at 12.34

Now we are 4 days further. I’ve been ill, laying on the couch, twiddling my thumbs. And here’s where that gets me:

At the final chart on the final page. Just creating those last few rows of lace… I just can’t stop!

The beads are a pleasure. They are beautiful, sparkly, very smooth (also on the inside so they don’t snag or damage the yarn), and it’s a pleasure to put them on. I use a very small crochet hook for that and I get them on a stitch before I work the stitch. The bigger size beads are such an improvement! They really bring the shawl alive. No glancing over them this time!

I’m using a Chiagoo Red Lace needle in the size 3,75mm that the pattern specifies (usually I go down a size but BooKnits is a loose knitter too) and towards the end -where I am now- it is suggested to use a 4 mm needle. This will open up the lace magnificently.

The yarn is divine too, it’s Tulp in the colour Stud by DutchKnittingDesign.com. A mix of silk and casmere, so soft, SO SOFT. And they have gorgeous colours. Silk will do that to you. This skein was a present I gave myself about 16 months ago. Been afraid to touch it ever since, except for petting it and admiring the colour. But now it just zooms away, so eager to become this beautiful shawl.

 pic by DutchKnittingDesign.com

Mind you, I never cared much for lace knitting.
It’s a whole lot of work for a flimsy piece of knitting that won’t keep you warm. But this Summer my friend and knitwear designer Meilindis wore a beautiful lace shawl on her wedding day and it was soft, gorgeous and exquisite and I couldn’t stop petting it and her. That’s how I got to appreciate lace: a lovely design in a high end lace yarn, using high end beads in a design that matches the mood of the wearer.

Didn’t plan on knitting a lace design in laceweight yarn any time soon though. It’s still a lot of work. But then BooKnits had a Knitting Along (KAL) on Ravelry. And I’ve loved her designs for very long, with the half crescent shapes and the dramatic feeling to it.
I hadn’t planned on it but somehow I found myself casting on for the one design I’ve wanting to do for a long time: Temptress by BooKnits:

This is a picture from her pattern page.
I love the shapes! The holes! The points! The dramatics! The ration between yarnweight and needle size!

The magic with lace knitting is it looks all crumpled up until you block it. Then it opens up beautifully. I love her style, with the big open holes. Since starting one of her designs and reading through the many informative posts in her group, I’ve learned she gets these holes by blocking “thuggishly” as she herself puts it.
Also, this is called “true lace” when on both the right side and the wrong side you have to pay attention and use different stitches. You can see how many times there’s just a single strand visible near the holes. That’s when on both sides the knitter does a trick. When all the returning rows are just trickless knitting, the holes are defined with twisted strands, like the little X-shaped threads you see at the top of the picture, just below and to the side of the top beads.
Easier to knit, less dramatic.

I’m having much fun with my Tulip Temptress. As this design has been a favourite of mine for a long time, I’m sure I will knit it again some day. Playing with the design elements.
Next time I’ll use a yarn without memory, such as silk or bamboo (don’t like bamboo), and perhaps even bigger needles so it really opens up and resembles BooKnits shawl. I might have to spin that silk lace yarn… I’m too cheap to buy it at the moment…
But perhaps I’ll use a fuzzy lace yarn from the stash? that would be interesting too.

Yes, there’s enough flimsy holey knitting in my future to dream about. With sparklies!
Because I also bought a whole bunch of these at Kralenwerk.nl : garnet lined chartreuse triangle Miyuki size 5 beads

All the wrong colours for me, since they are warm. But who cares? These are beautiful and will make a beautiful dramatic shawl and I will wear it and it will match my mood and I will look beautiful!

Weird Wool Friday: when knitting speaks

So I made a mistake in Oak Grove Cardigan and it has grown way too big and I have to frog a substantial part of it. Like 15 hours of work on it. They’ve been for nought, they have to go. I cannot bring myself to do that so…

…I cast on a difficult lace shawl that uses beads:

It’s the Mystery Halloween shawl by Boo! Knits. The pattern is called Morticia. It’s a delight!

BooKnits advises to use beads a bit bigger than this. I’ve started to agree with her. It took a while to make up my mind but I’ll admit it: these beads are too small:

So I ordered new beads. And am waiting for that order to be processed. Then I will have to frog this shawl, all 18 hours I’ve put in it, and start over….

…which is why I cast on another difficult lace shawl that uses beads which I happen to have in the right size:

This is Temptress, also a design by Boo!knits.

The beads are Miyuki seed beads 6/0. These are chrystal clear round beads with a rainbow shine over them. I have ordered silver lined chrystal triangle beads 5/0 which will sparkle more but I’m still waiting for the order and tried to tell myself these work fine too. They do……

…not. This shawl will be so much better with the silver lined ones…. but I did not want to admit this. It would mean frogging all 8 hours work I’ve put into this one and starting over again…

…which is when my yarn bowl broke:

OK. I’ll listen.
I’ve put all shawls on halt. I’ll wait for beads. I’ve frogged Oak Grove Cardigan as far as necessary. I am knitting on it agian now, very merrily.
Now for some good glue…